Viet Nam News
Phạm Hoàng Nam
HCM City -- Overseas Vietnamese are an inseparable part of Việt Nam and though they live abroad, their hearts are always with the country, a delegation heard at the third overseas Vietnamese conference, which closed on yesterday in HCM City.
Speaking at a conference themed "Overseas Vietnamese join hands in quick and sustainable development and international integration of HCM City”, Primer Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc said he was highly appreciative of the enthusiasm of overseas Vietnamese contributing to the development of HCM City.
“Your presence here today confirms a sacred fact that Việt Nam’s potential is not only within our country but all around the world where Việt kiều live and work,” he said.
“Việt Nam warmly welcomes all Việt kiều who would like to contribute to the country,” he added.
“Overseas Vietnamese business, investment, finance, technology and science co-operation have become important resources to the development of the country and in the new period of development, the country needs more contribution from overseas Vietnamese from all around the world,” Deputy Primer Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Phạm Bình Minh said.
“However, Việt kiều’s contribution to the development of HCM City is not equivalent to their intelligence potential, international business experience and huge finance resources. We would like to promote all of their potential,” Nguyễn Thành Phong, chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee said.
Over 500 Vietnamese national residents from 36 countries and territories attended the two-day event which started on Saturday.
During the conference, they focused on the city’s sustainable development, human resources, science-technology development, economics and trade and service investment.
Nguyễn Đức Khương, Finance Professor at the IPAG Business School in Paris, discussed three challenges that HCM City has been facing, including: high speed of change in technology, knowledge and economics; fluctuating financial markets; a sharp reduction of natural resources and climate change.
“To cope with the situation, HCM City authorities must create a policy that can mobilise all economic sectors to contribute to the development of the city; increase human resources with professional skills and responsibility toward society and environment; and study and apply the digital economy to efficiently save all resources,” he said.
“This is a sound material-cycle society based on the principle of Reduce – Reuse – Recycle,” he added.
Nguyễn Đỗ Dũng, an overseas Vietnamese in Singapore and member of the Việt Nam Initiative Group, stressed three factors that can help boost development of the city; a clean and orderly government, meritocracy and a flexible institutional structure.
“A strong government must have good development policies and smart master planning to create an open and knowledge society,” he said.
HCM City authorities so far have already had a vision but it is not really good as restructuring is not flexible and has limited authorisation.
“The city should release and maintain long-term policies, open co-operation with neighbouring provinces to compete with international competitors,” he said.
Particularly, Dũng pointed out that the city should make challenges into opportunities.
“HCM City leaders should think about the city having a lot of ponds that can solve the current seriously flooding. Traffic congestion will be opportunities for investors to find solutions,” he said.
“Let’s make a master plan for sea, create more green space and a friendly environment for residents, more open, more creative; create trust between each other: authorities believe in business and in return, people trust each other. All that makes a city become a place that’s worth living and working in,” he said.
“An open society, open economy, open data, open gateway for the region: these are all things the city must do to reach a new level of development,” Dũng added.
Dr Phạm Đỗ Chí from the US, an economic expert for the IMF from 1994 – 2001, warned that Việt Nam and HCM City must face that bad debt in the banking sector could be 10 per cent to 15 per cent, much higher than the officially announced number of 3 per cent and public debt could be 106 per cent of GDP, nearly double the 65 per cent of the official announcement.
“To solve these two bad figures, private enterprises should be free to do business in a fair environment. Việt Nam did a miracle in the past when leaders decided to renovate the economy in 1986 and now is the time for the second renovation,” he said.
Many overseas Vietnamese suggested creating a connection through the Internet by sending their contributions and suggestions for different aspects of live to HCM City authorities regularly.
According to the Overseas Vietnamese Affairs Committee under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, more than 4.5 million Vietnamese nationals are residing in over 100 countries and territories around the globe. Of the total, more than 400,000 are working at research institutions and universities in developed countries.
HCM City is the economic hub of Việt Nam with the largest number of Vietnamese living and working abroad.
The city has received the highest volume of overseas remittances, investment and contribution by overseas Vietnamese experts and intellectuals.
Overseas remittances could hit around US$10 billion this year. To date, Vietnamese abroad have invested in approximately 2,000 projects with an estimated capitalisation of $6 billion.
The first and second conferences were hosted in 2009 and 2012, respectively.
This was the first conference organised for HCM City to step into a new development level. – VNS